Dire Christmas Covid warning as festive plans to bring unhappy New Year, says expert

Claims that Omicron will 'spread pretty rapidly' and cause fresh curbs as cases rise to 246 in just 24 hours and NHS on the cusp of being put into a 'very, very difficult position'
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Kanye West and Kim Kardashian ‘kept distance’ at Chicago’s birthday party
They announced their divorce last year.
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North Korea launches unidentified projectile in fourth show of force fuelling war fears
NORTH KOREA has fired an unidentified projectile towards the East Sea, the South Korean military has warned.
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PM ‘questioned by Sue Gray’ as another claim of a No 10 party emerges
Boris Johnson is alleged to have attended a leaving do for his defence adviser in the run-up to Christmas 2020.
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Covid news live: New Zealand begins vaccinating children aged 5-11; French parliament approves vaccine pass
Five- to 11-year-olds will be eligible for jabs in New Zealand from today; a vaccine passport will come into force in France in coming days, with proof of vaccination required to enter public places‘Encouraging signs’ plan B Covid measures may soon be lifted in EnglandFrench parliament approves vaccine pass law to tackle CovidBoris Johnson will address No 10 ‘party culture’, says Tory chiefNovak Djokovic deported from Australia hours after losing visa fightConcerns grow that scale of No 10 ‘partygate’ too big for Sue Gray inquiryItalian nurse accused of giving fake Covid jabs to anti-vaxxers arrestedHello it’s Samantha Lock with you on the blog today as we unpack all the latest Covid developments from across the world.I’ll be reporting to you from Sydney and my colleagues from London will take over a little later in the day. Continue reading...
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Boris Johnson faces ‘burning deadline’ to keep energy bills down as prices set to soar
Average household could have to fork out extra £700 per year
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Two teenagers held in Manchester after ‘act of terror’ at US synagogue
President Joe Biden branded the hostage-taking a terrorist incident and UK police are working with authorities in the US on the investigation.
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New Covid self-isolation rules come into force in England
Isolation period has been cut as government hopes to reduce staffing pressures
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North Korea fires fourth missile this year, says Japanese coast guard
We'll be bringing you the very latest updates, pictures and video on this breaking news story
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Ghislaine Maxwell showed 'no emotion', juror tells Ranvir Singh in new ITV documentary
A juror from Ghislaine Maxwell's sex abuse trial has opened up to Ranvir Singh about the socialite's lack of emotion as the jury read out their verdict
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Australian Open 2022: Naomi Osaka on court as grand slam begins without Novak Djokovic – live!
Play at Melbourne Park starts at 11am in Melbourne, 12am GMTAndy Murray and tennis world react after Novak Djokovic deportedAny thoughts? Email or tweet @mike_hytnerAs we await the first serve of the tournament, not sure anyone would argue with Andy Murray’s summation of the events over the past few weeks: “It feels everything here happened extremely last-minute and that’s why it became such a mess.”Novak Djokovic is gone but, would you believe it, the world is still turning and that means finally there is some actual main draw grand slam tennis to talk about. After the most drawn-out, scrutinised and lamentable build-up to a major tennis tournament ever, the familiar tik-tok of tennis balls being hit over a net will finally take over from the relentless stream of Djokovic takes on, um, TikTok and such like. Of course, the shadow cast by the saga very much remains over Melbourne Park, and Djokovic will remain a hot topic for some time to come, but at least the presence of the likes of Naomi Osaka, Rafael Nadal and Ash Barty on court today will help return focus to the actual game of tennis. Continue reading...
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UK weather: Snow forecast as temperatures drop below zero this January
METEROLOGISTS warn that snow could batter Britain by the end of January. How low could temperatures drop?
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Shorter isolation period comes into effect as minister offers hopeful outlook
People with the virus can leave quarantine after five full days, as long as they test negative on days five and day six.
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Shorter isolation period comes into effect as minister offers hopeful outlook
People with the virus can leave quarantine after five full days, as long as they test negative on days five and day six.
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Record number of £5m-plus homes sold in London, says Savills
The number of £5million-plus homes sold in London in 2021 reached 522, with 163 sales of them in the last three months of that year alone.
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Ruth Davidson speaks of fears over disclosure of mental health history
Former Scottish Tory leader says she almost did not run for post in 2011 because of concerns that medical records would come outThe former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has said she almost did not run for the position because she feared her history of mental health problems would be exposed.The life peer was diagnosed with clinical depression in her first year at university and said she was concerned that standing for the role of leader in 2011 would result in her medical history coming out. Continue reading...
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Saving Britney review – a Spears superfan breaks the ice
Old Joint Stock, BirminghamOne millennial’s lifelong infatuation with the star could have been interesting but this spirited solo performance fails to engageOops she did it again. Britney mania has got another millennial teenager obsessed. Still, Jean is a superfan with a difference. With 172 similarities to the popstar, and the ability to understand the coded messages hidden within her songs before anyone else, Jean is convinced she is the only person who can save Britney.Inspired by the New York Times documentary and the #FreeBritney movement, Saving Britney details the life of the celebrity from her early days in the Mickey Mouse Club to the present day by Shereen Roushbaiani who speaks as an American narrator into a plastic yellow toy microphone. Intersected with long monologue sections from Jean (also played by Roushbaiani), listing reasons why her life has been devoted to the singer, it gives an intricate insight into the mind of an engrossed enthusiast. But while the subject matter feels topical, the solo drama fails to keep us engaged.Saving Britney is on tour until 26 March. Continue reading...
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World’s 10 richest men see their wealth double during Covid pandemic
Oxfam calls for windfall tax as 99% of world population takes a pay cut while top 10 incomes grow by $1bn a dayCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe 10 richest men in the world have seen their global wealth double to $1.5tn (£1.01tn) since the start of the global pandemic following a surge in share and property prices that has widened the gap between rich and poor, according to a report from Oxfam.Urging governments to impose a one-off 99% wealth tax on Covid-19 windfall gains, the charity said World Bank figures showed163 million more people had been driven below the poverty line while the super-rich were benefiting from the stimulus provided by governments around the world to mitigate the impact of the virus. Continue reading...
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UK households facing ‘fuel stress’ will treble to 6.3m – thinktank
Middle-income families will also find it hard to cope with new energy cap in April, says thinktankThe number of households suffering from “fuel stress” – those spending at least 10% of their family budgets on energy bills – is set to treble to 6.3m overnight when the new energy price cap comes in on 1 April, according to a leading research group.Fuel stress will no longer be confined to the poorest households, according to a study by the Resolution Foundation. Low- and middle-income families will also find it hard to cope as they spend a far greater share of their family budget on these essentials than higher earners. Continue reading...
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Average cost of funeral decreases over a year, report finds
The typical cost of a funeral was £4,054 in 2021, marking the first time since SunLife’s research started in 2004 that the figure has decreased.
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Lords urged to back changes to ‘anti-protest bill’
Businesses and campaign groups have raised concerns about the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
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Nearly a third of people have low financial wellbeing, survey finds
Those who feel in control of their money are more likely to feel satisfied with life generally than those earning over £50,000, according to research.
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Healthcare worker who helped tackle Edinburgh HIV epidemic up for lifetime award
Edinburgh was known as the ‘HIV capital of Europe’ in the mid-1980s.
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Chief Medical Officer urges pregnant women to get vaccinated
Sir Michael McBride warned that having Covid-19 during pregnancy was much riskier than having the vaccine.
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Second homeowners set for £191m windfall from Omicron grants
It comes days after Michael Gove announced plans to crack down on tax breaks for second homeowners from April next year.
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Recruitment in financial services hits pre-pandemic levels, report finds
Recruiter Morgan McKinley said there was a 40% increase in jobs available in financial services in the final three months of 2021 versus 2019.
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At-risk 12 to 15-years-olds eligible for booster doses from Monday
The NHS is rolling out Covid boosters to those in the age group who are clinically vulnerable or live with someone who is immunosuppressed.
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Government faces ‘burning deadline’ to keep household energy bills down
Energy bills might spike by more than 50% for millions of households less than three months from now
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Average price tag on a home jumped by £852 in January, says Rightmove
The average asking price for first-time buyer homes hit a new record of £214,176 in January, Rightmove said.
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Regional divides widening despite Government pledge to level up, says think tank
IPPR North said a yawning gap remained between Government rhetoric and the policy reality.
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Levelling-up betrayal as North gets one job for every three in the South East
The IPPR warned the £32-a-head investment from the Levelling-Up Fund compares to £413 per person lost through years of Tory austerity
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Pregnant Jess Wright shares gender of first child with husband William Lee-Kemp
The Only Way Is Essex star has revealed the gender of her first child, after announcing that she was pregnant with husband William Lee-Kemp in November
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Anthony Martial's angry response as Man Utd face Mauricio Pochettino competition
Manchester United striker Anthony Martial insists he has never disrespected the club, despite interim boss Ralf Rangnick claiming he refused to travel for Saturday's draw at Aston Villa
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Towie star Jess Wright expecting baby boy with husband William Lee-Kemp
Congratulations!
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Ex-serviceman ‘tortured’ by RAF for being gay wants justice for others
Simon Hinchley-Robson was subjected to four days of interrogation, including strip searches, after his superiors found out he was gay.
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Second homeowners set for £191m windfall from Omicron grants
It comes days after Michael Gove announced plans to crack down on tax breaks for second homeowners from April next year.
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At-risk 12 to 15-years-olds eligible for booster doses from Monday
The NHS is rolling out Covid boosters to those in the age group who are clinically vulnerable or live with someone who is immunosuppressed.
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Number of families spending 10% of budgets on energy bills ‘set to triple’
The number of households in England in ‘fuel stress’ is set to triple after the energy price cap is increased, the Resolution Foundation said.
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Cutting self-isolation period will not fix country’s sick pay problem – TUC
Around 267,800 workers in private firms were self-isolating without decent sick pay or any sick pay at all in mid-December, a report said.
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‘Wealth of tech talent’ offers refugees path to resettlement, says charity chief
Raj Burman, CEO of non-profit organisation Techfugees, said refugees have the ‘tenacity and perseverance’ to succeed in the digital sector.
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Ruth Davidson almost did not run as Scots Tory leader over mental health history
The Tory peer was diagnosed with clinical depression when she was a student.
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Government faces ‘burning deadline’ to keep household energy bills down
Energy bills might spike by more than 50% for millions of households less than three months from now
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Regional divides widening despite Government pledge to level up, says think tank
IPPR North said a yawning gap remained between Government rhetoric and the policy reality.
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UK’s biggest artists star in NHS mental health campaign
The video sees UK music stars encouraging those struggling with mental health to reach out for support.
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Millions of Britons causing ‘silent harm’ through hazardous drinking
About a quarter of adult men – some 5.5 million people – are drinking at increasing or higher risk levels.
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Boosters to be offered to most 'at risk' 12 to 15-year-olds
Clinically at-risk 12 to 15 year-olds or those who live with someone who is immunosuppressed are entitled to their booster from today
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Craig David and Nicola Roberts feature in starry Beatles-inspired NHS mental health campaign
The famous Beatles song Help! narrates the NHS's new mental health campaign.
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Your daily horoscope for Monday January 17, 2022
Virgos, expect some drama.
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London house price growth outpaced by UK average as rush to buy in the regions continues
London asking prices are £629,386 on average, down 1.2 per cent in a month.
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